Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

Court quashes Al-Jassem defamation conviction

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date 12 July 2010
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, Court quashes Al-Jassem defamation conviction, 12 July 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c3ffeef1e.html [accessed 30 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Reporters Without Borders hails a Kuwait City appeal court's decision today to overturn Kuwaiti writer and journalist Mohamed Abdel Qader Al-Jassem's conviction on a charge of defaming Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah.

"The ruling quashing Al-Jassem's conviction is an important step for free expression in Kuwait," Reporters Without Borders said. "We now call for all other charges against him to be withdrawn and the lifting of the reporting ban on the other case currently pending against him."

Today's ruling overturned Al-Jassem's conviction on 1 April for criticising government policy and calling for the prime minister's resignation.

Convicted in other case of defamation and "attacking the interests of the emir and national interests," Al-Jassem was released on bail on 28 June pending the outcome of his latest appeal after being held for 49 days (http://en.rsf.org/koweit-journalist-mohamed-al-jassem-28-06-2010,37826.html). His latest appeal is due to be heard on 20 September.

30.06.2010 - Authorities maintain reporting ban on Al-Jassem case

Prosecutor Hamed Al-Othman yesterday asked the information ministry to maintain a reporting ban on the case of journalist Mohamed Abdel Qader Al-Jassem, who is due to be tried on 20 September. The request was made the day after a Kuwait City criminal court released Al-Jassem on bail.

The ban has been in force since 24 May, when the justice ministry sent a directive to the information ministry forbidding both broadcast and print media to carry any reports about the proceedings against him (http://en.rsf.org/koweit-journalist-mohammed-abdel-qader-al-21-06-2010,37471.html).

Reporters Without Borders reiterates it condemnation of the news blackout imposed by the Kuwaiti authorities, which is unworthy of a country that claims to be a democracy. The media should be free to cover any and all subjects without any government control of their editorial policies.

28.06.2010 - Journalist Mohamed Al-Jassem released on bail

Reporters Without Borders hails Kuwaiti lawyer and journalist Mohammed Abdel Qader Al-Jassem's release by a criminal court today after 49 days in detention on politically-motivated charges of attacking national unity and defaming the prime minister.

"We are very relieved to learn of Al-Jassem's release, even if it is conditional, as his detention was utterly unjust," Reporters Without Borders said. "We continue to call for the complete withdrawal of the charges against him, as all he did was express a personal opinion verbally and in writing. This would enhance Kuwait's stature."

In today's hearing, his defence lawyers and doctors were able to tell the court that Al-Jassem's health had deteriorated since his arrest on 11 May for posting blog entries critical of government policy.

His lawyers have appealed against the court's decision to require payment of bail of 2,000 dinars (6,000 euros). Another hearing has been set for 20 September.

Both Al-Jassem's arrest and his detention were marked by many procedural irregularities (http://en.rsf.org/koweit-journalist...).

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